Heydrich was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and an important figure in the rise of Adolf Hitler ; he was given overall charge of the " Final Solution to the Jewish question" the Holocaust in Europe. The operation was carried out by soldiers of the Czechoslovak army-in-exile, in Prague , on 27 May , after preparation and training by the British Special Operations Executive and with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. Wounded in the attack, Heydrich died of his injuries on 4 June This was the only government-sponsored assassination of a senior Nazi leader during the Second World War. His death led to a wave of reprisals by SS troops, including the destruction of villages and the mass killing of civilians.
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Heydrich was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and an important figure in the rise of Adolf Hitler ; he was given overall charge of the " Final Solution to the Jewish question" the Holocaust in Europe.
The operation was carried out by soldiers of the Czechoslovak army-in-exile, in Prague , on 27 May , after preparation and training by the British Special Operations Executive and with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile.
Wounded in the attack, Heydrich died of his injuries on 4 June This was the only government-sponsored assassination of a senior Nazi leader during the Second World War.
His death led to a wave of reprisals by SS troops, including the destruction of villages and the mass killing of civilians. Heydrich came to Prague to "strengthen policy, carry out countermeasures against resistance", and keep up production quotas of Czech motors and arms that were "extremely important to the German war effort". This was a show of his confidence in the occupation forces and in the effectiveness of his government. By late , Germany under Hitler controlled almost all of continental Europe , and German forces were approaching Moscow.
Occupation of the whole country had begun in , and the initial betrayal, with the subsequent terror of the German Reich seemed to break the will of the Czechs for a period.
The German invasion of the Soviet Union had stimulated acts of sabotage by Czech communists, leading to Heydrich's appointment. Heydrich was thought to be scheduled to transfer to occupied northern France and Belgium, with the intent to implement similar policies there.
The resistance was active from the very beginning of occupation in several other countries defeated in open warfare Poland , Yugoslavia , and Greece , but the subjugated Czech lands remained relatively calm and produced significant amounts of materiel for Nazi Germany.
The exiled government felt that it had to do something that would inspire the Czechoslovaks as well as show the world that the Czechs and Slovaks were allies. The operation was also intended to demonstrate to senior Nazis that they were not beyond the reach of allied forces and the resistance groups they supported. Gubbins readily agreed to help mount the operation, although knowledge of it was restricted to a few of the headquarters and training staff of SOE.
The operation was given the codename Anthropoid , Greek for "having the form of a human", a term usually used in zoology. Preparation began on 20 October Moravec had personally selected two dozen of the most promising personnel from among the 2, exiled Czechoslovak soldiers based in Britain. Training was supervised by the nominated head of the Czech section, Major Alfgar Hesketh-Pritchard, who turned to Cecil Clarke to develop the necessary weapon, light enough to throw but still be lethal to an armour-plated Mercedes.
The Anthropoid pair landed near Nehvizdy east of Prague. Originally, it had been planned to land near Pilsen , but the aircrew had navigation problems and each of the groups landed in different places than intended. In Prague, they contacted several families and anti-Nazi organisations who helped them during the preparations for the assassination. A second plan was to kill him on a forest road that led from Heydrich's home to Prague.
They planned to pull a cable across the road that would stop Heydrich's car but, after waiting several hours, their commander, Lt. A third plan was to kill Heydrich in Prague.
Heydrich's green, open-topped Mercedes Cabriolet B reached the curve two minutes later. As the car passed, Heydrich made an ultimately fatal error; instead of ordering his driver to accelerate, he stood up and drew his Luger pistol , yelling at the driver to halt. Instead of landing inside the Mercedes, it landed against the rear wheel. Nonetheless, the bomb severely wounded Heydrich when it detonated, its fragments ripping through the right rear fender and embedding fragmentation and fibres from the upholstery of the car into Heydrich, causing serious injuries to his left side, with major damage to his diaphragm , spleen and lung , as well as a fractured rib.
Two SS jackets which had been folded on the back seat of the car were whirled upwards by the blast and draped themselves over the trolley wire. Klein tried to shoot at him but dazed by the explosion, pressed the magazine release catch and the gun jammed.
He was forced to abandon this attempt however and took cover behind a telegraph pole, firing at Heydrich with his pistol. Heydrich returned fire and ducked behind the stalled tram. Suddenly, Heydrich doubled over and staggered to the side of the road in pain. He then collapsed against the railings, holding himself up with one hand.
Heydrich, his face pale and contorted in pain, pointed out the fleeing Czech, saying "Get that bastard! A Czech woman and an off-duty policeman went to Heydrich's aid and flagged down a delivery van. Heydrich was first placed in the driver's cab but complained that the truck's movement was causing him pain. He was then transferred to the back of the truck on his stomach and taken to the emergency room at Bulovka Hospital.
Slanina packed the chest wound, while Dr. Walter Diek the Sudeten German chief of surgery at the hospital tried to remove the shrapnel splinters. After 29 May, Heydrich was entirely in the care of SS physicians. Postoperative care included administration of large amounts of morphine. There are contradictory accounts concerning whether sulfanilamide a new antibacterial drug was given but Gebhardt testified at his war crimes trial that it was not.
On 2 June, during a visit by Himmler, Heydrich reconciled himself to his fate by reciting a part of one of his father's operas:. The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself. We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum. Heydrich slipped into a coma after Himmler's visit and never regained consciousness. He died on 4 June around in the morning. Heydrich's facial expression as he died betrayed an "uncanny spirituality and entirely perverted beauty, like a renaissance Cardinal" according to Bernhard Wehner , a Kripo police official who investigated the assassination.
One of the theories was that some of the horsehair in the upholstery of Heydrich's car was forced into his body by the blast of the grenade, causing a systemic infection. In support of the latter possibility, particles of fat and blood clots were found at autopsy in the right ventricle and pulmonary artery and severe oedema was noted in the upper lobes of the lungs, while the lower lobes were collapsed.
The authors say that there is only circumstantial evidence to support this allegation; the records of the SOE for the period have remained sealed and few medical records of Heydrich's condition and treatment have been preserved. The evidence cited to support the theory includes the modifications made to the No.
The modification of the weapon could indicate an attached toxic or biological agent. Heydrich received excellent medical care by the standards of the time. His post-mortem showed none of the usual signs of sepsis , although infection of the wound and areas surrounding the lungs and heart was reported. Heydrich's condition while hospitalized was not documented in detail but he was not noted to have developed any of the distinctive symptoms associated with botulism , which have a gradual onset, invariably including paralysis, with death generally resulting from respiratory failure.
The botulinum toxin theory has not found widespread acceptance among scholars. Fildes had a reputation for "extravagant boasts" and the grenade modifications could have been aimed at making the 4.
Hitler ordered an investigation and reprisals on the day of the assassination attempt, suggesting that Himmler send SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski to Prague. Intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the village of Lidice. A Gestapo report suggested Lidice was the hiding place of the assassins, since several Czech army officers exiled in England were known to have come from there.
In the days following Lidice, no leads were found for those responsible for Heydrich's death. A deadline was issued to the military and the people of Czechoslovakia for the assassins to be apprehended by 18 June If they were not caught by then, the Germans threatened to spill far more blood, believing that this threat would be enough to force a potential informant to sell out the culprits.
Many civilians were indeed wary and fearful of further reprisals, making it increasingly difficult to hide information much longer. The assailants initially hid with two Prague families and later took refuge in Karel Boromejsky Church , an Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Prague.
At on 17 June, the Moravec flat was raided. The family was made to stand in the hallway while the Gestapo searched their flat. Marie Moravec was allowed to go to the toilet, where she bit into a cyanide capsule and killed herself. Alois Moravec was unaware of his family's involvement with the resistance; he was taken to the Petschek Palace together with his year-old son Vlastimil "Ata", who was tortured throughout the day but refused to talk.
The youth was stupefied with brandy , shown his mother's severed head in a fish tank, and warned that, if he did not talk, his father would be next and Ata gave in. Bishop Gorazd took the blame for the actions in the church, to minimize the reprisals among his flock and even wrote letters to the Nazi authorities, who arrested him on 27 June and tortured him.
On 4 September , the bishop, the church's priests and senior lay leaders were taken to Kobylisy Shooting Range in a northern suburb of Prague and shot. Two large funeral ceremonies were held for Heydrich as one of the most important Nazi leaders: first in Prague, where the way to Prague Castle was lined by thousands of SS men with torches and then in Berlin attended by all leading Nazi figures, including Hitler, who placed the German Order and Blood Order medals on the funeral pillow.
The UK and France agreed that, after the Nazis were defeated, the annexed territory Sudetenland would be restored to Czechoslovakia. It is likely that neither the Czech government-in-exile nor the British SOE foresaw the possibility that the Germans would apply the principle of Sippenhaft collective responsibility on the scale they did in avenging Heydrich's assassination.
Two years after Heydrich's death, Operation Foxley , a similar assassination plan, was drawn up against Hitler but not implemented. Operation Anthropoid was the only successful government-organized assassination of a top-ranking Nazi.
The soldiers of Operation Anthropoid, their helpers, and the Operation itself were memorialized in the Czech Republic and abroad. Later it underwent significant reconstruction and the extended exposition was reopened in Another important monument is in the form of a fountain and symbolically commemorates the seven paratroopers.
The Slovak National Museum opened an exhibition in May to commemorate the heroes of the Czech and Slovak resistance, one of the most important resistance actions in the whole of German-occupied Europe. Tumova and J. There is also a memorial in Arisaig , Scotland to the Czechoslovakian members of SOE who trained in that area, with a list of those killed and the missions in which they took part.
In October , a memorial plaque was unveiled on residential block Porchester Gate London , which housed the Czechoslovak military intelligence service and where the Operation Anthropoid was planned in October The following is a list of the movies dealing with Operation Anthropoid or portraying the assassination as a crucial moment of the film's plot:. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, where the Czechoslovak paratroopers died after being cornered, and the memorial there for those killed by the SS in retaliation for Operation Anthropoid.
Reward poster for Sgt. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Heydrich's Typ damaged by the anti-tank grenade. Heydrich succumbs to wounds on 4 June; Nazis order reprisals. Main article: Operation Anthropoid Memorial. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Memorial in the crypt of the Church of St.
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